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Pickin’ a seven-year success

The “Pamlico Pickers” sing and dance to “The Blue Crab Motion,” part of the 2012 Pickin’ on the Pamlico Festivities Saturday in Festival Park on the Washington waterfront. Pickin’ on the Pamlico is the Washington Harbor District Alliance’s biggest fundraiser of the year. (WDN Photo/Mona Moore)

For the seventh year running, seafood lovers gathered on the Pamlico River waterfront in downtown Washington for an evening of crab-picking, shrimp-peeling entertainment.
Saturday, the Washington Harbor District Alliance — and caterers Keyzer Seafood — served 400 people at Pickin’ on the Pamlico, said WHDA Director Beth Byrd.
The event continues to garner interest locally, but in recent years visitors from outside the area have been drawn to the music and food-filled Pickin’ from other parts of the state. Out-of-towners from Jacksonville, Wilson and Raleigh travelled to Washington specifically for Saturday’s waterfront gathering, according to Byrd.
“They were impressed that Washington had such a nice event,” she added.
Byrd said a few changes contributed to this year’s Pickin’ success: expanding the hours to run to 11 p.m., which helped beverage sales, and the slight relocation to the area between the stage, picnic shelter and waterfront in Festival Park.
“I think it made it a little more intimate, being down there,” Byrd explained.
As with every Pickin’, patrons entered their tables in the table-decorating competition. This year, they stepped up the competition, adding soundtracks, costumes and song and dance to the contest.
Third-place winner, The Moss House Bed and Breakfast, transformed its table to an underwater playground, with miniatures like “Julia Crab” and “Bobby Filet,” colorful renditions of chefs Julia Child and Bobby Flay, scattered among glittery seaweed.
“It was just odds and ends, things we found at the Dollar Store, pieces of driftwood we found at Topsail,” said Becky Sipprell of the design.
Second-place winner, “Crab Olympics,” created a crab-infested Olympic extravaganza surrounding a faux Olympic torch. As the theme song from “Chariots of Fire” played over the speaker system, local CPA Lewis Jones — in Olympian dress, a toga — lit the torch to chants of “USA! USA!”
First-place winners, “Pamlico Pickers,” in matching, nautical-themed outfits, performed “The Blue Crab Motion”— original lyrics in the style of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” set to Little Eva’s 1962 hit, “The Loco-motion.”
Byrd deemed the seventh Pickin’ on the Pamlico a success: “We’re hoping we’ve made about $9,000,” Byrd said, of WHDA’s main fundraiser of the year. “That’s great. I don’t think we’ve ever made more than that, so that’s a total success.”